JOHOR BAHRU: Fresh from her Indonesian Open Super Series win, Saina Nehwal stormed into the pre-quarterfinals of Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold ba
dminton tournament with a straight-game victory over Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand on Wednesday.
Second seed Saina needed less than half an hour to send Buranaprasertsuk packing with a 21-18 22-20 victory in her opening round match to set up a clash with another Thai Ratchanok Intanon in the round of 16.
The world number eight Indian rode on her better net play and powerful smashes to pocket the first game after going neck and neck at 14-all at one point of time.
In the next game, the Hyderabadi opened up a lead of 8-3 but her Thai rival reeled off three quick points to close the gap at 9-7 and draw level at 12-12 before surging ahead at 20-19. The Indian, however, shoved down three straight points to seal the match.
Arvind Bhat and Ajay Jayaram also advanced into the men's pre-quarterfinals though it was curtains for compatriots Chetan Anand, Anup Sridhar, P Kashyap, Anand Pawar in men's singles and Aditi Mutatkar in the women's singles.
Ninth seed Arvind had to toil hard for his 21-16 16-21 21-16 first round win over Sune Gavnholt of Denmark. The lanky Indian then defeated Yongzhao Ashton Chen of Singapore 21-18 17-21 21-15 in the second round to set up a pre-quarterfinals clash with Long Chen of China.
Promising young shuttler Ajay beat Malaysian Chong Chieh 21-16 21-8 in the first round and then got the better off Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin of Malaysia 21-13 24-22 in 30 minutes to set up a last 16 clash with Yun Hu of Hong Kong on Thursday.
Meanwhile, third seed Chetan tumbled in the first round after losing to Iskandar 16-21 21-18 17-21, while 16th seed Anup went down to Japanese Koichi Saeki 21-17 11-21 17-21 in a 45-minute duel.
Pawar also experienced a similar fate, losing to Malaysian Wei Feng Chong 14-21 21-11 15-21 in the first round.
Twelfth seed Kashyap, however, won his first round match against Kazuteru Kozai 21-13 14-21 21-11 but couldn't continue his good work and lost to local player Chun Seang Tan 20-22 11-21 in the second round.
Mutatkar was also the first round casualty as she pulled out of the game after 19 minutes into the match against Singaporean Mingtian Fu. The Indian was trailing 11-21 4-11 when she retired.